Flashback to 1999. After several weeks of working in her first “professional” position, advertising sales at the local CBS station, Margie and a few of her coworkers decided to head out to an after work “Happy Hour” a few blocks away.
Margie, Tina, and Darla – the three newest, youngest, freshest faces in New Business Sales. Margie had never felt better, remembering her drive home the night before – hitting the traffic jam and not caring. Santana’s “Smooth” was playing on the radio, and Margie was singing at the top of her lungs.
She always sang when she was happy.
That Friday night, Margie and “The New Girls,” as everyone had started calling them, met for drinks at the trendy, upscale, Zentra.
Their conversation was animated and upbeat, chatting with a few locals, and even a couple of very cute salesman, in from Chicago.
Margie excused herself to use the restroom, and came back to a new seating arrangement. The gentleman had joined them, and on top of that, fresh drinks were passed out all around. (Margie’s had apparently been spilled in her absence, while the move occurred.)
Margie was seated next to Todd, a very nice looking gent, about her age, who seemed a bit more reserved than the rest of the blokes.
Everyone had a great conversation, and it was getting late, so Tina and Darla had decided to head back to their respective significant others. Margie decided she should go as well, even though she didn’t have the kids that night.
“Aw, come out with me,” Todd asked.
Margie looked at him and smiled.
“But we just met!”
“I know, but I love this town, and I want to go see it. Come with me?”
Margie laughed. “Hmm, where would you want to go?”
“I want to go smoke cigars. My friend told me of a place downtown – I can drive you there.”
Margie didn’t want anyone driving her anywhere, especially a stranger. She paused for a moment, and then,
“Okay, but I will drive myself.”
They both drove to a British Pub located on the mall in downtown Young America.
It was so busy, that it took ten minutes to find each other, but once they did, Todd escorted her to the back room – for whiskey and cigars.
He ordered the drinks and they sat there chatting as he lit his cigar.
“You know, you look like him.”
Todd looked at her quizzically.
“Look like who?”
“Aw, you ‘re gonna make me say his name? Surely you must get the compliment all the time.”
Margie was talking about one of her favorite actors, of course, and after a few minutes, Todd began to crack a smile.
“Yeah, I do get the comments.”
“See? So, what do you do with the comments, I mean – do you pick up girls?” Margie started laughing.
Todd handed her his newly lit cigar, and she held it briefly, smelling its aroma without taking a drag.
“Well, I picked up you.”
“No you didn’t,” she said, “you had no idea if I could see a resemblance. I mean, it’s just a resemblance, right? You’re not really him, in cognito or anything.”
Todd started laughing.
“And what if I was.”
“Well, nothing, I guess. I’ve met plenty of celebrities.”
“Oh, really? How?”
“Well, I worked in radio for a good while. You know, celebrities are just…people. They can be nice, they can be real assholes – just like any anonymous other fucker.”
Todd looked at her, surprised.
“Oh, did I offend you? I tend to swear when I’ve been drinking.”
“No, no, you didn’t offend me. … So, what do you do for a living, now, I mean?”
Margie paused and handed the cigar back to Todd.
“I sell air.”
“Yup. I sell air for a pretty good sum of money. Just sold a $15,000 package today, in fact. 15,000 worth of air.”
Todd thought a bit, and then “Air… you mean advertising?”
“Bingo!” Margie declared.
“Oh, cool…so… who are your clients?
Margie looked at him with exasperation.
“Does it matter?”
“No, I guess not.”
Margie sighed. “Yeah, I’m trying to not let it matter. But, to be honest, the only people I can get to buy from me are strip clubs and sex shops. In fact, I was ASSIGNED the local strip clubs and sex shops. I mean, do I look like that kind of girl?”
Todd looked at her very intently before putting out his cigar. He moved in closer and asked “Well, no, not that kind of girl, but can I kiss you anyway?”
Margie felt AWESOME, the cigar and the wine was hitting her blood stream in the most fantastic way.
Margie wasn’t able to finish her sentence, as Todd pulled her close in and began to kiss her in such a way that anything and everything outside the two of them, their singular bubble, seemed to disappear.
When he was finally able to release her, Margie could only sit and stare.
Todd nodded. He seemed surprised at himself.
They sat there for another hour, chatting, and kissing in the back room of that bar, ignoring anything else going on around them.
Later, Todd asked if she wanted to go to his hotel room, and she declined.
He gave her his number, on a card – but she was never able to reach him – the number ended up being disconnected for some reason.
The irony is, that only a few weeks earlier, after chatting with someone in an AOL writing group, she had sent a query and synopsis of a screenplay she’d been working on…to Todd’s famous Doppelganger. She had never told a soul.
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